Amazing Toys Made And Licensed
by The Marvin Glass Company
In 1941, Marvin Glass founded Marvin Glass & Associates (MGA), a design and engineering firm in Chicago. It became the first independent designer for the toy industry and is the subject of a 2016 Schiffer publication, The Amazing Toys of Marvin Glass, by Joyce Grant.
Until Glass formed his company, toy companies sold only their own designs. MGA patented its inventions and licensed them to novelty and toy companies.
The first success was Yakity-Yak Talking Teeth, which he sold to Fishlove and Co. in 1950. The teeth were an instant hit – and sold 3.2 million at $1 each. When the teeth were wound up, they chattered away. Another early success was the plastic Busy Biddee Chicken, sold by Topic Toys. When a kid pressed down on the chicken, she laid an egg. Over 14 million were sold, at 49 cents each.
By the 1960s, larger, more intricate toys, such as Mr. Machine, hit the market. A kid could take Mr. Machine apart and put him back together. It was licensed to Ideal Toys and became such a hit that Ideal used it in their TV advertising.
A series of bright plastic mechanical toys and games made MGA enormously successful. It eventually employed 75 designers, engineers, scientists, model makers and artists. The company’s logo appeared on the box of just about every item it invented and licensed.
Among MGA’s famous toys were Robot Commando, Inch Worm and Lite Brite. The famous games include Mouse Trap, Masterpiece, Billionaire and Ants in the Pants. All the output of the company was licensed to companies such as Parker Brothers, Ideal, Hasbro and Milton Bradley.
The book is entertaining, with hundreds of games and toys pictured, along with suggested current values. The Amazing Toys of Marvin Glass, (ISBN: 978-07643-5125-9), hardback, is priced at $24.99. It is available from your local bookseller or online from www.schifferbooks.com
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